New Blog Post: Baseball Inductions: Miss One?
(July 27, 2011) Usually the last week of the month would find me constructing a J.R. Huckel & Associates newsletter, but this past weekend over 17,500 fans, according to the local paper The Daily Star, attended the 2011 Induction Ceremony at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY, where players Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were honored alongside retired baseball executive Pat Gillick.
However, as commentators Peter Dreier and Kelly Candaele wrote in a Huffington Post column, one deserving individual was missing – Marvin Miller. The retired Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, as I wrote earlier this year, missed election to the Hall of Fame by one vote. The news is too recent and the Huffington Post column too well argued to not reflect on this moment.
Dreier and Candaele suggest, in their column, that making the votes public is a way to right the wrong they posit. The key statement is the column: “If the committee members were required to explain their votes publicly, any attempt to defend a vote for Gillick over Miller in terms of who made the most "significant contributions to the game of baseball" -- the alleged criteria -- would be laughable.”
I write again on this topic because I believe it points out two main concerns about Hall of Fame elections:
1) Controversy will inevitably surround the results, and
2) Halls of Fame have a duty to maintain confidence in their respective voting procedures.
Eliminating controversy is nearly impossible over time, but incorporating voting procedures that provide for open and transparent elections will, at the minimum, assure those who care about your Hall of Fame that efforts to make voting as fair as possible are being made.
I encourage the reading of the Dreier and Candela column and an evaluation of current voting procedures at your institution. Do the procedures encourage responsible and reflective voting? Will they assure your public that due consideration is given to all eligible candidates? And, lastly, do the results reflect your gut feeling about who should be honored?
I’ll be away next week. Consequently, my column will return the week of August 8.
Jack Huckel, Founder & Principal of J.R. Huckel & Associates, offers election and induction consulting services to Halls of Fame. Jack served the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum as Director of Museum and Archives for 9-1/2 years after more than 10 years as a volunteer. More information is available at the firm’s web site. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518/852-3033.
Jack is a member of the International Sports Heritage Association, whose Annual Conference, “Survive AND Thrive,” will be held on October 12 – 14, 2011 at the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum in Oakville, Ontario.